The Stephen Sondheim Theatre in 2011
|Address||124 West 43rd Street|
Manhattan, New York City
|Public transit||Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal or 42nd Street–Bryant Park/Fifth Avenue|
|Operator||Roundabout Theatre Company|
|Production||Beautiful: The Carole King Musical|
|Years active||1918-1968; 2001-2004; 2009-2010 (Henry Miller's Theatre)|
1998 (as Kit Kat Club)
2010-present (Stephen Sondheim Theatre)
Stephen Sondheim Theatre, formerly Henry Miller's Theatre, is a Broadway theatre operated by Roundabout Theatre Company. It's located at 124 West 43rd Street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue, in Manhattan's Theater District.
Designed in the Neo-classical style by architects Paul R. Allen and Ingalls & Hoffman, it was built by and named for actor-producer Henry Miller. His financial backers were Elizabeth Milbank Anderson, owner of the lot at 124 West 43rd, and Klaw & Erlanger. The 950-seat theatre opened on April 1, 1918, hosting the play The Fountain of Youth. It was the first air-conditioned theater in Manhattan.
The theatre had its first hit show with Noël Coward's The Vortex in 1926. Following Miller's death that year, the theatre was managed by his son, Gilbert, who bought the Klaw & Erlanger interest and paid 25% of the gross take of each play he produced to the Milbank Memorial Fund, Anderson's legatee. From the 1930s through the late 1960s, the theater enjoyed its golden years, with performances by Helen Hayes, Leslie Howard, Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, and Ruth Chatterton gracing its stage.
In 1966, the Miller family sold the theatre to the Nederlanders, who sold it on in 1968 to Seymour Durst. It showed feature films as the Park-Miller until it became a porn theater called Avon-at-the-Hudson. In 1978, it was converted into the discotheque Xenon. On August 31, 1985, the space opened as SHOUT, a nightclub featuring music from the 1950s and 60s, which operated for six years. The space reopened in 1995 as Club Expo, under the management of Matthew Johnson of Samba Brands Management.
In 1998, the facility briefly returned to performance use as the Kit Kat Club, a “club within a club” concept developed by Johnson and his partners. Named after the Berlin nightclub in the 1966 musical Cabaret, the Kit Kat Club housed Roundabout Theatre Company’s popular revival of the musical. After hours, the location served as a popular nightclub featuring burlesque entertainment and dancing. On July 22, 1998, a nearby construction accident temporarily closed the building and forced Roundabout Theatre Company to relocate to Studio 54 to finish their production. The Kit Kat Club continued to operate as a nightclub and a venue for private parties until it closed on April 11, 2000. The space was rechristened the Henry Miller when Urinetown opened in 2001.
The theater closed in 2004, the interior demolished and subsequently rebuilt by the Durst Organization to make way for the 57-story Bank of America Tower. Its neo-Georgian facade, landmarked by the city, remains, and includes a 1,055-seat theater designed by New York firm of Cook+Fox Architects within the new structure. With bank facilities located above, architects were forced to design and build the new theater underground. This makes the theater one of only two subterranean houses on Broadway. In 2007, the Roundabout Theatre Company announced it would operate the theater as its third Broadway venue. The new theater opened in September 2009 with the Roundabout Theatre Company production of a revival of the musical Bye Bye Birdie.
On March 22, 2010, his eightieth birthday, Roundabout announced that Henry Miller's Theatre would be renamed to honor American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The official unveiling and lighting of the marquee of the new Stephen Sondheim Theatre took place in a ceremony on September 15, 2010.
The first production at the newly renamed Stephen Sondheim Theatre was The Pee-wee Herman Show, which played a limited ten-week engagement from October 26, 2010 through January 2, 2011. A revival of Anything Goes starring Sutton Foster and Joel Grey, followed from April 7, 2011 through July 8, 2012. Since November 21, 2013, the theater has been home to Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
- "Half of $7,000,000 Estate to Public". The New York Times. June 30, 1921. p. 7. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
The estate included real estate worth $423,891, consisting of an equity in 124 West Forth-third Street, valued at $269,430 and in 820 Park Avenue, worth $154,447.
- Harriman, Margaret Case (June 5, 1943). "Profile: Mr. Miller and Mr. Hyde". The New Yorker: 30.
- Zolotow, Sam (November 1, 1966). "Miller Theater Brings $500,000; Producer's Wife Is Selling It to Detroit Chain". The New York Times.
- Zolotow, Sam (May 28, 1968). "Henry Miller's Theatre Sold". The New York Times.
- "Matthew Johnson | Samba Brands Management". Samba Brands Management. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
- "Samba Brand Management".
- "Construction Collapse in Times Square". NY Times. July 22, 1998.
- "Studio 54". NY Theatre Guide.
- Kirby, David (April 16, 2000). "It's Closing Time for a Club and Its Unsavory Reputation". NY Times.
- Simonson, Robert. "Henry Miller gets a new theatre", Playbill, November 28, 2009
- "Stephen Sondheim Theater". Cook+Fox. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Healy, Patrick. "White Way Gets a 'Green' Theater"The New York Times, May 3, 2009
- Simonson, Robert. "Henry Miller Gets A New Theatre pg. 2" Playbill, November 28, 2009
- Robertson, Campbell. "Roundabout to Fill a Brand-New 89-Year-Old Theater", The New York Times, May 10, 2007
- Jones, Kenneth. "Broadway's Newest Theatre, Henry Miller's, Will Open in September With Bye Bye Birdie", Playbill, May 3, 2009
- Healy, Patrick. "One More Birthday Gift for Sondheim: A Broadway Theater", The New York Times, March 22, 2010
- Jones, Kenneth."Light the Lights! Stephen Sondheim Theatre Will Be Unveiled Sept. 15" Playbill, August 30, 2010
- Jones, Kenneth (August 19, 2010). "Pee Wee Herman Show Will Celebrate the Holidays on Broadway, Run Extended". Playbill.
- Hetrick, Adam (January 12, 2014). "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Starring Jessie Mueller as Music Icon, Opens on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
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